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Wednesday, May 27, 2009
Home of the what, now?
The past couple of weeks have really been astounding as the debate about the closure of Guantanamo creeps forward. The truly elegant stupidity of this uproar, is that no one is talking about whether or not the facility is legal under any interpretation of US law, or whether the torturous acts committed there will be prosecuted. We're only talking about the closure, and what it means for the people incarcerated there. Where will they go?
"Well, you can't just let them go! they'll return to the battlefield! Anyone who would do that is soft on terror!"
There's probably some truth to that. There are currently 240 terror suspects being held in Gitmo. Even though I'm sure that some of them are guilty of some prosecutable crime, I can't say this with certainty, because none of them have had trials. Details, details...
I'm not advocating just letting all 240 of them go at all. And I definitely wouldn't let them all go if there were even as many as 540 of them. Some of them might return to terror activities, or the not guilty ones might be so pissed at us, they might sign on to the cause.
Funny about that number, 540. That's actually how many Guantanamo detainees that the Bush administration let go without trial. Just let them go. That seems kind of whimsical, to determine on one day that a man so terrifying that he needs to be locked up without charges is, on the next day, no threat whatsoever. But what else can you do, right?
"You can't bring them to the US, buddy! Don't even suggest that! Willingly import terrorists? Why do you hate America?"
Again, it's apparently better to release these guys, than to bring them here to be held, tried, and probably convicted.
"That won't work! That's why we have the military tribunal system!"
You're right, the US system of justice wouldn't work on terrorists. I mean, aside from the blind sheik who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993, Timothy McVeigh, shoe-bomber Richard Reed, and Jose Padilla, there are only a bunch of other terrorists who have been convicted in US courts. They're all still in jail.
"Yeah, well... not in my backyard!"
Okay, mine then.
There is a maximum security state facility less than 10 miles from where I sit. I will take every damned one of the 240 Guantanamo detainees, have them placed in this prison while they await trial in US courts, and I will not lose a moment of sleep over it. Honestly, between the Aryan Brotherhood, the Mexican Mafia, Crips, Bloods, La Nuestra Familia, the Mexikanemi, and the Nazi Low Riders, I just don't think any of these guys would last a month.
"But what if they escape? What about my family?"
Okay, here's the thing: I'm starting to think you're a real spineless candyass.
If my state prison can't be trusted, I suppose we can always turn to the federal government's one and only supermax facility, ADX Florence in Colorado. "The Alcatraz of the Rockies" they call it. Florence opened in 1994, I will go ahead and list for you the names of everyone who has ever escaped from this prison:
So, I just don't buy your arguments about why these suspects can't be imprisoned and tried in the US, and under US laws. It's a really good system, one that has worked for a couple of hundred years, and truth be told, it's a better system now than when it was designed, because improvements have been made the entire time. Not so much lately, but still, it's pretty well designed.
Unfortunately, you still have professional pants-wetters like House Minority Leader, John Boehner who wails that "importing the (Gitmo prisoners) would be a strategic mistake and an incredible risk. Or Senator John Thune of South Dakota who noted, quite astutely, that "the American people don't want these men walking the streets of America's neighborhoods!"
But I'd really like to give special attention to Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, who cast a vote against President Obama's plan to close Guantanamo, because, as he explained at a press conference, "I’m saying that the United States Senate, Democrats and Republicans, do not want terrorists to be released in the United States. That’s very clear."
A reporter was decent enough to point out the obvious: "No one’s talking about releasing them. We’re talking about putting them in prison somewhere in the United States."
Reid replied: "Can’t put them in prison unless you release them."
While this may not be the single most idiotic thing I've ever heard a politician say, I'm sure we can do a hell of a lot better with our elected representatives, and we can make the country a hell of a lot safer merely by following the rules laid out in the Constitution. They work really well.
In the mean time, but on a Depends, you weeping, pathetic coward.
posted at 3:37 PM
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